One century to parity: The need for increased gender equality in academic surgery

      The history of women in surgery is a storied one extending back to ancient Egypt, Babylon, Greece, and Rome. Wall paintings in tombs and temples dated from at least 3500 BCE depict women performing surgical procedures, and women physicians and surgeons were described in documents produced by Roman historians, including Galen in the first century AD.
      • Majumdar S.K.
      History of women in surgery: an overview.
      As the profession became more organized and regulated, including, for example, the institution of formalized education, and creation of surgeon's guilds in England in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, the activities of women in surgery became progressively more limited. Women still practiced surgery faced significant hostility and frequent accusations of witchcraft and sorcery.
      • Majumdar S.K.
      History of women in surgery: an overview.
      It was virtually impossible for women to receive formal surgical education, though women would go to extraordinary lengths of posing as men to obtain it. The most famous example of this is Dr. James Barry, a British army surgeon who treated patients in the Battle of Waterloo and the Crimean War, whose gender was not discovered until her death during an epidemic in 1865.
      • Majumdar S.K.
      History of women in surgery: an overview.
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